The Law Commission received submissions requesting it to consider the reform of the Sheriffs Act with the view to develop a regulatory regime that was relevant, effective and exhaustive. In December, 2012, the Law Commissioner, in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission, appointed persons to serve as Commissioners on the special Law Commission on the Review of the Sheriffs Act. The special Law Commission’s work started in earnest in November 2013.

Stakeholders to the National Consultative Workshop requested the special Law Commission to include in the proposed legislation provisions on Distress for Rent, which, although not directly enforced by sheriffs, is one of the remedies for satisfaction of rental debts.  However, the special Law Commission was of the view that distress for rent should be provided for separately from the proposed legislation on sheriffs. The Commission will therefore continue with the review of Distress for Rent as a separate law reform exercise, with expected funding from the Malawi Judiciary.

The special Law Commission finalized its work and held a press briefing to announce its findings and recommendations on 28th November, 2014. The Commission’s main recommendations affect the following areas:

  1. the independence of the Sheriff’s office;
  2. the Registrar of the High Court as the Sheriff of Malawi.;
  3. the President power to appoint the Sheriff of Malawi;
  4. tenure for Sheriffs;
  5. qualification for persons appointed as Sheriffs or Deputy Sheriffs;
  6. succession and professional progression of  a person being considered for appointment as Deputy Sheriff;
  7. appointments of Under Sheriffs and Assistant Sheriffs. The additional requirement of “high integrity” for all persons under consideration for appointment as Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff, Under Sheriff or Assistant Sheriff;
  8. assurance of accountability and professionalism of sheriff officers;
  9. regulation of sheriff expenses including transport, labour, security, accommodation, lunch allowance and daily subsistence allowance;
  10. powers of the Sheriff to execute against property that is capable of being seized; and depositing of seized property should be deposited by the Sheriff in a fit and proper place and in conditions capable of ensuring the least depreciation


 The following is a list of papers: